A standard is defined as a musical composition that has become a part of the standard repetoire. The conventional wisdom suggests that this definition applies to popular songs of the twentieth century based on the premise that their popularity has lasted beyond the period of their initial publication. Pianist/composer Noah Haidu has taken this to heart on his persuasive album Standards.
Accompanied by a cohort of acclaimed sidemen including bassists Buster Williams and Peter Washington, drummer Lewis Nash and alto saxophonist Steve Wilson, he has created an elegant, economical, and sure-footed exposition into this vision of the standards songbook. The session opens with "Old Folks" and "Just In Time." The former lopes along in a quietly ravishing way, while waiting for the bell to ring, while the latter dashes out of the gate. Nash and Haidu add to the interest with an exchange of breaks in sagacious fashion.
Jimmy Van Heusen and Sammy Cahn wrote "All The Way" in 1957. It was made popular by Frank Sinatra and introduced in the film The Joker Is Wild. Haidu's spare and sparse version of the number reverberates with collaboration and a sense of oneness. Wilson joins the band for the Arthur Schwartz/Howard Dietz composition "You and the Night and the Music," which debuted in the 1934 Broadway show Revenge With Music. This energetic version is filled with Wilson's nimble alto playing after which Haidu builds his solo with ardent and propulsive swing.
A couple of treasures of the standards songbook are Hoagy Carmichael's "Stardust" and Jimmy Van Heusen/Johnny Mercer's "I Thought About You." Both are given exemplary treatment by Haidu. The final two tracks, "Last Dance I" and "Last Dance II," are Haidu originals, not standards, and feature the quartet configuration. Between Wilson's carbonated alto and Haidu's irrepressible piano, they provide a fitting capstone to the session.
Old Folks; Just In Time; Beautiful Friendship; All The Way; Someday My Prince Will Come; You and The Night and The Music; Ana Maria; Skylark; I Thought About You; Last Dance I; Last Dance II.
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